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Fairy Tales in Italy and France: Fairy Tales Elements

French and Italian fairy tales written between 1550 and 1750: connections to each other and to contemporary fairy tales literature, film, and the arts

Characters: Good VS. Evil

Fairy tales usually have characters representing good and evil. These characters may be people, with or without supernatural powers, magical creatures and animals. Even organic and inanimate bodies (trees, flowers, books) may gained life as characters in fairy tales.

Characters: heroines and heroes, idealized femininity, damsel in distress, the mentor, the noble and honorable, the missing parent, the orphan, the antagonists: incestuos fathers, ogres, envious family members, adn the greedy, resentful, and malicious characters.


Symbolism is an important element in fairy tales. From Cinderella's glass slipper, the strong personality of Malificent, the power of love, to the nose of Pinocchio to represent what happens when someone tells a lie.

Symbolism: overcoming challenges, making good or poor choices, societal views: manliness, femininity, intergrity, vileness; inner knowledge, the tree, the rule of three, social structures, geographical landscapes, the moral connotation, the depiction of women, gender stereotypes. 

Transforming Our Understanding of Fairy Tales


Photo called "the real Geppetto." Shows a man working on his studio and several Pinocchio figures made out of wood.

TEDxWayneStateU by Anne Duggan, Professor of Fairy-Tale studies. Imaged used under the Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0).

Marina Warner in Conversation on Fairytales


Color illustration of CInderella taken from a book of German fairy tales called Märchenbuch c1919.

Warner discusses Jung, Cinderella and the figure of the wicked stepmother. Presented by The University of Sheffield. Public Domain image.